The yachtsman found himself in difficulties coming into Plymouth Sound when, on taking the short cut through a passage known as ‘The Bridge’, to the west of Drake’s Island, his rigging became entangled with a navigation mark.
‘The Bridge’ is used by many small craft entering and leaving Plymouth Sound in order to leave the main shipping channels clear for larger ships.
The yachtsman, who was sailing single-handed, was steering between the navigation marks in a strong incoming spring tide and a gusting southerly wind.
The yacht’s mast and rigging were badly damaged in a collision with one of the navigation marks and the fore sail got wrapped around the mark’s central steel pillar. Officers of the local Ministry of Defence Police Marine Unit, assisted by Plymouth inshore lifeboat personnel, were able to cut the yacht free and eventually the stricken vessel was towed into a nearby marina.
No-one was injured in the incident, but equipment on the navigation mark was badly damaged in the collision.
Inspector Gordon Peters, the MOD Police Marine Unit Commander, said:
Although we are here to protect the naval base and the ships that use it, we will always try and help fellow seafarers in difficulty.